When entrepreneur Nilesh Patel and his family moved to Tallahassee in 2011, he wasn’t planning on getting into the amusement industry. Then one day he went looking for a fun and exciting family entertainment center where his young daughters could have birthday parties. When he couldn’t find one, he had a feeling that there may be an unfulfilled niche in the market. A few years later he decided he would build his own and that’s where District 850 came to fruition. Named for the Tallahassee area code, District 850 is the first modern FEC in the area. Previously, residents seeking a first-class center had to travel to Jacksonville, Orlando or even Atlanta. Now with District 850, it’s in their own backyard.
An experienced businessman who has operated gas stations, convenience, and liquor stores and leased commercial real estate, Patel is savvy enough to know what he doesn’t know. He did his homework for many years, attending key industry events like IAAPA and LaserTag360. He also worked closely with Jerry Merola or Amusement Entertainment Management.
District 850 opened its doors on November 15, 2020 despite the uncertainty of the pandemic. At first, there was limited occupancy out of an abundance of caution and District’s 40,000 square feet allowed comfortable social distancing. Now, District 850 is operating at full capacity.
Business at District 850 so far has been better than expected, Patel is pleased to say. “We’ve been nothing but blessed. Despite the pandemic, everybody in the community has welcomed us.”
District 850 offers many amenities, such as an onsite restaurant with delicious culinary options, to a wide range of games and activities, such as bowling, ax throwing, escape rooms, laser tag, a ropes course and XD Dark Ride, and a top-of-the-line arcade. The VIP Hyper Lounge has become a popular destination for local businesses and organizations looking to host “outside of the box” events. The VIP Hyper Lounge offers a luxury bowling experience you can’t get anywhere else in Tallahassee.
Whether you rent out the VIP Hyper Lounge, one of the four private birthday party rooms or simply come in for a date night or family day, Patel ensures that his 120-member staff will treat you to superior customer service, offer premium products and an unrivaled experience. The core values stem from a balance of fun, safety, service and quality.
“Guests should experience the highest quality of everything, from dining to attractions, all under one roof while feeling fully taken care of,” said Patel. “We are not simply here for entertainment; we are in the business of making memories.”